By Maroon & White |
When Michael Brown started at Saint Mary’s as a mature student, he wasn’t sure he would fit in. “I felt very alone,” he says. “I was scared of failing. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it through the program.”
However, that changed as soon as he met students from varying backgrounds and started building relationships with professors. “Professors were engaging me and I realized SMU was a place that wanted me to succeed. It felt like a community.”
With his innate entrepreneurial spirit, it didn’t take long for Michael to find his stride in the Sobey School of Business. By the time he graduated in 2014, he had already launched three companies, sold two of them, studied abroad in France as well as Hong Kong, and received the prestigious Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies. “There was so much opportunity at SMU and that lifted me up,” he explains. “Based on my positive experience, I felt I had to give back. There was no other option.”
Having come from poverty, Brown feels strongly about providing opportunities for others and supporting the community. In 2014, he established two funds at Saint Mary’s — the Michael Brown Entrepreneurship Award and the Michael Brown International Mobility Award. “I started the awards in entrepreneurship and studying abroad because those areas completely changed my life,” he explains. “I wanted to create those opportunities for others and it felt really good to do so.”
As CEO and co-founder of Swept Technologies, Brown focuses on building innovative companies that help fuel Nova Scotia’s economy. In 2018, he received the Young Alumni of the Year Award from Saint Mary’s for his outstanding business achievements and community involvement. Beyond his support for Saint Mary’s, Brown has volunteered as well as fundraised for a number of organizations, including FEED Nova Scotia, Catapult, Junior Achievement, AIM – Abilities in Motion, and Make-A-Wish.
When asked what motivates him to give, Brown reflects on both his past and his future. “A lot of what inspires me comes from my background, having grown up dealing with food insecurity,” he says. "In terms of legacy, I’d really like to make an impact on hunger worldwide. For now, I am helping the community where I can, just like it helped me at the start of my journey”